Former Shins bassist Neil Langford dies at 50 – Rolling Stone

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Former Shins bassist Neil Langford dies at 50 – Rolling Stone

Neil Langford, ex-Shins bassist who played on their indie band’s acclaimed debut album Oh, upside down world, Has passed away. He was 50.

Langford was found dead last Friday, July 21, in a creek near a private dock in Bath, North Carolina, where he lived. At the time, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office said it did not suspect foul play, but the investigation was ongoing. A sheriff’s office representative did not immediately return a call A rolling stoneupdate request.

News of Langford’s death didn’t seem to reach Shins fans until Thursday night, July 27, when frontman James Mercer shared a tribute on Instagram.

“Just wanted to let you know that one of the best friends I ever had is gone,” Mercer wrote. “He was in a few bands with me, including the Shins. A very important figure in my life, you could say. I mean, this is the guy who convinced me to get over my shyness and get on stage. He put me in front of the microphone! He was the Catholic school that showed me how to sneak into the back of the old El Rey Theater and get “free” beer. A priceless man!”

Mercer credits Langford with introducing him to bands like Dinosaur Jr. and the Cocteau Twins. He also remembered riding in Langford’s father’s El Camino, listening to music. “We drove when we probably shouldn’t have. Where we shouldn’t have been,” Mercer said. “We were like that. A long time ago. There’s too much to the story, but I loved it. And I owe him a lot. Neil Langford, you have always been loved and always will be.”

Langford and Mercer first played together in 1992 in a band called Flake Music, which would eventually become the Shins. Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Flake Music released several singles and one album, 1997, When you land here, it’s time to go back. During this period, Mercer and Flake Music drummer Jesse Sandoval also began making music as the Shins. When Flake Music broke up in 1999, the pair enlisted Langford.

After several early releases such as their EP Nature tolerates a vacuumThe Shins caught the attention of Sub Pop, who released their single “New Slang” in 2001. The band’s debut, Oh, upside down worldfollowed in June of the same year. Oh, upside down world was an indie hit and earned high praise, eventually reaching number 35 on the Country voicethe annual Pazz & Jop critics’ poll. But the band really took off a few years later after “New Slang” and one more Oh, upside down world the song “Caring Is Creepy” was featured on the hit soundtrack for Garden State.


By this time, however, Langford was already out of the group. Sandoval, who was also kicked out of the group a few years later, suggested in a 2009 interview. Portland Mercury that Langford was fired because he was too keen on hot air ballooning. “Neil loved ballooning, but he didn’t choose ballooning over shins,” Sandoval said. “He was fired. My phone call was very parallel to Neil’s call earlier in the day. The way Neil was fired was no different than the way I was fired.

In 2012, Langford and former Shins keyboardist Marty Crandall formed a new band called Sad Baby Wolf, which released a solo EP the following year. But Langford otherwise seems to be enjoying his life outside of music, remaining particularly devoted to hot air ballooning. Initial local news reports of his death called him a “hot air balloon enthusiast” and noted that he co-owned and founded the company IBX Balloon Flights in 2018 after moving from Albuquerque to Bath.

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